Smile Train Founder Visits China to Attend Smile Train Surgical Training Program Graduation and Meet Program's 20,000th Patient

'These Doctors Are the Real Heroes of The Smile Train,' Says Charles B. Wang

Aug 07, 2001, 01:00 ET from Smile Train

    BEIJING, Aug. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Charles B. Wang, Chairman of Computer
 Associates International, Inc., and founder of The Smile Train, today met with
 the latest graduating class of Peking University Stomatological Hospital Key
 Center, part of a national, cleft surgery training program sponsored by The
 Smile Train.
     (Photo: )
     In addition to congratulating these surgeons and thanking them for their
 commitment to helping children, Wang met the 20,000th child who has benefited
 from The Smile Train program along with dozens of other patients.
     In more than 27 countries around the world, The Smile Train empowers local
 doctors and hospitals to provide free cleft lip and cleft palate surgery for
 poor children who would otherwise not receive it.  The Smile Train's free
 surgery programs operate in more than 100 hospitals across China.
     Smile Train patient number 20,000 is typical of the kind of child that The
 Smile Train was created to help.  Patient number 20,000 is a one-year old
 orphan who was abandoned soon after birth because of her cleft lip and cleft
 palate.  She was found lying by the side of the road by a man with a big
 heart, Li Yu Liang, a peasant from Hubei who brought her home and adopted her.
 He named her Li Meiling, which means Beautiful Bell.  Meiling was operated on
 August 2 for both her cleft lip and her cleft palate.  Her surgery went
 extremely well and soon she will be going home with not only a new smile but
 also a second chance at life.  Interestingly enough, this is a second chance
 for her adopted father who lost his wife to kidney disease shortly before he
 came upon Meiling.
     "20,000 surgeries since inception is quite a milestone for The Smile Train
 and I want to thank the thousands of doctors and nurses who made it happen,"
 said Wang.  "I think of it as 20,000 miracles, each one an incredible
 opportunity to give a suffering child not just a new smile but a new life.
 Little Meiling is a great example of how this surgery can change someone's
 life completely.  Now she can grow up and be like any other little girl."
     The latest graduating class of the Peking University Stomatological
 Hospital Key Center includes 12 surgeons and anesthesiologists from three
 northern Chinese provinces who have completed a two-month course of intensive
 study and hands-on training in the latest techniques in cleft surgery.  Over
 the past two years The Smile Train has provided free training and education
 for more than 1,500 Chinese doctors.  In-country training is a critical
 component of The Smile Train program which is built around empowering local
 doctors to provide treatment.
     "These doctors are the real heroes of The Smile Train," said Wang.  "I
 feel honored to meet them and certainly The Smile Train is very lucky to
 attract such talented and committed individuals.  These 12 doctors will go on
 to change the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands of children over their
 careers.  That's why our focus on training, and our strategy of investing in
 people as much as programs, is what The Smile Train is all about.  Long after
 The Smile Train has left, doctors we have trained will be helping children
 like Meiling.  I can think of no better legacy than that."
     About Smile Train
     The Smile Train ( is a non-profit organization
 launched in 1998.  Its goal is to eradicate the global problem of cleft lips
 and palates.  The Smile Train's comprehensive approach to the problem of
 clefts involves free training for doctors, free surgery for children and
 research to find a cure.  It is supported by thousands of individuals and
 private foundations and does not receive any governmental funding.
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